Warning: Spoilers from “Burn Notice’s” series finale, “Reckoning,” are contained in this article.
The “Burn Notice” character that series creator Matt Nix teased would die in the series finale was revealed during last night’s “Reckoning.” Sharon Gless‘s Madeline Westen gave the final sacrifice as she blew herself up to kill a group of James’ men who were closing in to kill her, Charlie and Jesse in the Season 7 villain’s attempt to hurt Michael.
Prior to the episode airing, Zap2it spoke with Gless about how her character went out with a literal bang. She admits that keeping her death scene under wraps was “very difficult,” and says Nix revealed the way Maddie would die at the beginning of the year.
“I wouldn’t want to shoot that again,” Gless admits. She and Nix had been discussing how Madeline was going to quit smoking so she could raise Charlie, and Nix told her that in her final scene Madeline would take a drag of a cigarette. “And I said, really? That’s cool,” Gless recalls. “And he said, yeah, just before you end it.”
For Gless, this was the right way to bid farewell to her character. Nix told her at the time this was an important ending, and she still feels that way.
“At the time I thought, what a cool way to go. It’s selfless. They don’t do it to her; she does it to them,” she tells Zap2it. “And, truly, what are they going to do? Are they going to drag her around the world. You know, everyone goes off their own ways, and what are they going to do with mama? Even though she was a major part of that family.”
In her final scenes, Madeline told Michael that she was proud of the man he has become. As Gless says, she hopes her character “finally raised him right” as Michael went on to have a bittersweet ending living in hiding with Fiona and Charlie.
“Will Michael Westen ever find peace? I don’t know; he was raised by his mother, which has made him what he was,” Gless says. “I hope he does, but I don’t know if he’ll be practicing being a spy anymore or what he’s going to do. He got out and he’s going to give it another chance. Another chance with Fiona and Maddie’s handed him the next generation to raise.”
More than half of the fans who voted in Zap2it’s finale poll said they didn’t expect Madeline to be the “Burn Notice” character who died. Gless calls that a “stroke of genius” on Nix’s part.
“As dark as that show got, and it did get dark at the end, I don’t see anything else they could have done. They’re not going to take the hero. They’re never going to take the hero,” Gless says. “It’s sort of a melancholy, sweet ending where those two do end up together after seven years. They’re in hiding and obviously who knows if he’ll ever be a spy again.”
“Burn Notice” is over, and Gless is now going to take some time off after her seven-year run on the show. “I couldn’t be happier with my choice,” Gless says of joining “Burn Notice” originally. “I made a really very choice and I’m so grateful they invited me to play Madeline. I thought she was a hoot.”